The deadliest storm in modern history ripped Pakistan in two and led the world to the brink of nuclear war when American and Soviet forces converged in the Bay of Bengal.
In November 1970, a storm set a collision course with the most densely populated coastline on Earth. Over the course of just a few hours, the Great Bhola Cyclone killed 500,000 people and began a chain reaction of turmoil, genocide and war. The Vortex is the dramatic story of how that storm sparked a country to revolution.
Bhola made landfall during a fragile time, when Pakistan was on the brink of a historic election. The fallout ignited a conflagration of political intrigue, corruption, violence, idealism and bravery, which played out in the lives of tens of millions of Bangladeshis. Authors Scott Carney and Jason Miklian take us deep into the story of the cyclone and its aftermath, told through the eyes of the men and women who lived through it, including the infamous president of Pakistan, General Yahya Khan, and his close friend, the President of the United States Richard Nixon, American expats Jon and Candy Rhode, soccer star-turned-soldier Hafiz Uddin Ahmad and a young Bengali revolutionary, Mohammed Hai.
Thrillingly paced and written in incredible detail, The Vortex is not just a story about the painful birth of a new nation but also a universal tale of resilience and liberation in the face of climate emergency, which affects every single person on the planet.
'This book makes you feel like you're living through the traumatic birth of Bangladesh, a beautiful and resilient country that has overcome near-impossible odds. But if we don't quickly bring climate change under control, those experiences of our past could foreshadow our next great global tragedy. The Vortex is a stark reminder that the power of nature can either be tempered by human wisdom or amplified by our shortsighted greed and hunger for power. An epic tale indeed!' -Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, educator, environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org
'This is a rich tale of a terrible cyclone and the human folly that deepened the tragedy. Grippingly written, it is both a powerful history of the creation of modern Bangladesh and an urgent warning about our precarious common future on our rapidly heating planet.' -Gary J. Bass, author of The Blood Telegram
'Among the greatest threats posed by climate change are dangerous supercharged storms powered by warming oceans. But their catastrophic destruction isn't limited to lives and property; sometimes even entire political ecosystems are at risk. In The Vortex, Scott Carney and Jason Miklian take us on a riveting journey into the deadliest storm ever. They reveal not only the devastating human toll but also how it triggered a horrific genocide and war. In the absence of meaningful climate action, climate disasters threaten to increasingly force humans into conflict, making The Vortex an urgent wake-up call for our shared global future.' - Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State University, and author of The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet